The 2016 Amgen Tour of California kicked off on Sunday, May 15, with an opening stage that looped around San Diego.
This year’s edition of the race features one of the strongest start lists in the race’s 11-year history, featuring 10 WorldTour squads and returning former champions Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Wiggins) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff).
The stage featured the category one 9.5-kilometre climb of Honey Spring Road at its mid-way point. This early climbing test did see several riders drop off the back of the peloton, including Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).
The subsequent descent allowed for a regroup and Cavendish caught back up. The chase was then on to catch the day’s seven-man escape group that featured British rider Dan Patten (Team Wiggins).
After the remaining two escapees were scooped up with three kilometres of the stage remaining, the scene was set for a bunch sprint showdown.
At first it looked like the win was going to come from either Wouter Wippert (Cannondale) or Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) but world champion Sagan accelerated past them to take the win right on the line.
It is Sagan’s 14th Tour of California stage win, and his third victory of the year after Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders.
The race continues on Monday with stage two from South Pasadena to Santa Clarita.